SURREY, B.C. - Grey Cup organizers were hoping for different outcomes in the CFL playoffs over the weekend, but they still believe the big game on Nov. 30 will be a sellout.
Both the hometown B.C. Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders — who have the most rabid fanbase in the league — were eliminated from post-season play on Sunday.
Despite those disappointing results, 102nd Grey Cup Festival general manager Jamie Pitblado is confident the remaining 6,500 unsold tickets will be gone by kickoff on Nov. 30 at Vancouver's B.C. Place Stadium.
"Once we get those two finalists the big push will start and we'll certainly be sold out come game time," Pitblado said Tuesday. "We were certainly hoping the Lions would have a stronger showing and continue the march and we'd move a few more (tickets) along the way, but it is what it is.
"We always prepare a game and a festival not knowing who's going to be in it. The last three years organizers got spoiled having the home team in. Now it's just back to having to do some hard work and push the tickets."
The Calgary Stampeders host the Edmonton Eskimos in the West Division final, while the Hamilton Tiger-Cats welcome the Montreal Alouettes in the East showdown.
"I think all the teams will draw well. Certainly if you look at (Lions') home games, when we play Calgary we get quite a large contingent of red and white," said Pitblado. "So Calgary would be a strong one and a helpful one, but Edmonton's playing some strong football right now so I wouldn't put anything past them."
B.C. Place hosted a sold-out Grey Cup back in 2011 when the Lions beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the first major event at the venue following its renovation after the 2010 Olympics.
Capacity is 54,500 and Pitblado estimated about 15,000 of the tickets — which range in price from $175 to $445 — already sold for this year's game have been bought by fans outside of British Columbia.
"I just think we continue what we're doing. We have a good plan in place," said Pitblado. "We built this plan not expecting the Lions to be in it, that (would have been) gravy."